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John Merwin lives in Vermont, where, when he's not tying flies, building lures, or digging up worms with his backhoe, he writes the monthly Fishing Column for Field & Stream magazine.

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November 07, 2008

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Merwin: Be Careful, You Dummies

I opened a package of Gamakatsu hooks this morning, and read  the following warning: "Handle with care. Extremely sharp hooks. Keep  out of reach of small children."          

Well, duh. Maybe they think I'd store loose treble hooks in  the baby stroller or use a 4/0 worm hook for a toothpick. And I hope  they're extremely sharp, which is why I bought them.          

I see these kinds of warnings on all sorts of fishing gear.  By such language, I should be outright scared to use a sharp fillet  knife instead of sensibly respectful. Printed notes and cautions of  this sort are relatively new and, at least to me, really annoying.          

I am not stupid. I have common sense. I am practical. So  please, get off my back.


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Thats just Gamakatsu's way of trying to lawyer proof their product. They know if they didn't some idiot would hook his/her finger and want to sue them becuase he/she didn't know their product was supposed to be so sharp and possibly puncture their skin.


Welcome to the age when McDonald's has to remind you that their hot coffee comes served...well...hot. I don't think that it's completely true that there are that many ignorant people out there (because there are) but too many people are looking for a way to make a quick million or two or three...so go ahead and poke your eye out with that Gammie...no pain no gain, right?


I should rephrase "I don't think that it's NOT completely true...


Remember there are more south ends of north bound mules than there are north bound mules. Thus the stupid warnings.


I still love the warnings factories print on rifle barrels that state the gun could cause serious injuries or death. Who would buy a 30/06 and not expect it to kill something?


Kinda like "do not use hair dryer while bathing" or "do not use iron while wearing clothes." Pretty sad when you need to do this to protect yourself from multi-million dollar lawsuits


Ya, it keeps you out of a lawsuit, but if you can't figure out that fishhooks are sharp, then you probably shouldn't be fishing. I'd be right mad if I bought some and they weren't...


The incoming adminstration announced an initiative aimed at eliminating the alarming rate of punctures and painful stabbings caused by sharp points on fish hooks. According to an official statement, during "the past 8 years fishermen, fisherwomen and fisherchildren have had their fingers impaled by sharp hooks sold in poorly labeled packaging marketed by an uncaring, thoughtless and profit-driven fishing industry."

The current government has been ignoring the issue. The incoming administration claims that women, children and the poor have been disproportionately affected by this menace. Studies quoted by the adminstration suggest that the "removal of the sharp, pointy parts on the end of fish hooks will significantly reduce injuries" as well as the resultant lowering of self-esteem induced by feelings of ineptitude and inadequacy in handling sharp objects. The pointy parts would be replaced with rubber padding. "We just want people to feel better and not worry about injury at the hands of the corporate fishing industrial complex."

A spokesman for Fish Hook Manufacturers Association remarked "What the..." and walked out of the press briefing.


This come under the catagory of just plain stupid.I know the easy answer is to blame the lawyers, but they only provide advice, they do not set policy, it is the business owners, the BOD's who do this, and someone has to be brave enough to say
"Stop!We sell fish hooks, our customers WANT them to be Sharp,So they ARE!!!!"
Look, when I was a kid I did a lot of stupid things, and sometimes I learned from them. I remember getting this wood carving set, I read the directions(pretty amazing feat) and I started wrecking havoc on a block of wood. Now my shop teachers had given a good class on carving and said what to do and how to be careful, but son of a gun I slipped and almost cut my thumb off.Now did I or my parents rush off to sue the shop teachers? or the knife company? or the store that sold the set? or my parents for not "protecting me from my self?
My mom asked me if I learned anything, I said hell yes(o.k. heck yes), I ned to be more careful, and that was that.
My point is WE need to be more responsible to ourselves,and stop blaming. I do not want the government, insurance companies, or anyone else to protect me from myself!!!
Otherwise we better start posting warnings that using this site could cause hand,wrist,eye and brain damage!!!!!